Friday, August 17, 2018

Music Friday Tribute: Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin 'Wouldn't Mind a Little Diamond Ring'

In 1964, a 22-year-old Aretha Franklin declared in a song called "One Room Paradise" that she didn't need to live in a castle or be showered with diamonds and pearls in order to be happy. A little one-room apartment would be totally fine as long as she could be with the man she loved.

But, then, halfway through the tune, Franklin reversed gears and added a telling footnote: "Now, if one day he lucks up on a magic pot of gold (Pot of gold) / I wouldn’t mind a little diamond ring or a fur coat for the cold (Oooh!)."

Welcome to Music Friday when we often bring you throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics.

Today's tribute is dedicated to the Queen of Soul, who passed away yesterday in Detroit at the age of 76.

Written by John Leslie McFarland, "One Room Paradise" first appeared as the final track of Runnin' Out Of Fools, her seventh studio album.

While the song's character aspires to own something precious, Franklin — the star — loved her jewelry. She has been photographed throughout her career wearing long strands of cultured pearls, gemstone earrings and diamond rings.

The first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (1987), Franklin has earned 19 Grammys, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994. She scored 17 top-10 pop singles and 20 #1 R&B hits. She's sold more than 75 million records worldwide.

In 2008, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Franklin #1 on its list of the Greatest Singers of All Time.

Singer Mary J. Blige commented at the time, “Aretha is a gift from God. When it comes to expressing yourself through song, there is no one who can touch her. She is the reason why women want to sing. Aretha has everything — the power, the technique. She is honest with everything she says.”

Born in Memphis, Tenn., Aretha Louise Franklin honed her singing talent in the choir of her father’s New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit. At age 18, in 1960, she was signed by Columbia Records. By the end of that decade, she had cemented her status as the "Queen of Soul."

Please check out the remastered audio track of Franklin's "One Room Paradise." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"One Room Paradise"
Written by John Leslie McFarland. Performed by Aretha Franklin.

I don’t need no diamonds (She don’t need)
And I don’t need no money (She don’t need, she don’t)
Some people live in castles with 60 or 70 rooms (She don’t)
Some people dream about a penthouse doll or a mansion on the moon

But I got me a little one room paradise
And the man I love (And the man I love)
And that’s all I need now
And the man I love (And the man I love)

Some girls are crazy about diamonds (Diamonds)
Some go wild about pearls (Go wild)
Some girls go for a lot of loot from a check book that ain’t hers (Sho’ ain’t hers)

But I got me a little one room to paradise
And the man I love (And the man I love)
And that’s all I need now
And the man I love (And the man I love)

Now, if one day he lucks up on a magic pot of gold (Pot of gold)
I wouldn’t mind a little diamond ring or a fur coat for the cold (Oooh!)
But if it meant I had to lose just what I’ve got right now (Right now)
Then I don’t need no gold anyhow (No, no!)

I can’t make love with no diamonds (Diamonds)
Give them all to somebody else (Anybody)
And what good is one hundred rooms if you’re debtor by yourself (Yes, you)

So I’ll take me my little one room paradise
And the man I love (And the man I love)
Well, that’s all I need now
And the man I love (And the man I love)

I don’t need no diamonds (She don’t need no diamonds)
Said I don’t need no money (She don’t need no money, she don’t)

Credit: Screen capture via

Monday, August 13, 2018

This Is How Fashionable Jerusalemites Were Accessorizing 2,200 Years Ago

A team of archeologists from Tel Aviv University and the Israel Antiquities Authority unearthed an elaborately worked 2,200-year-old golden earring bearing the likeness of a horned animal. The hoop earring was discovered during excavations just outside Jerusalem's walled Old City and was likely worn by a member of the elite class during a period of Greek influence.

The earring is 4 centimeters long (about 1.5 inches) and reflects a crafting technique called "filigree," in which fine threads of precious metal and tiny beads are used to create delicate and complex patterns — in this case, the head of a ram, antelope or deer with large eyes and other distinctive facial features.

According to the directors of the excavation, Professor Yuval Gadot of Tel Aviv University and Dr. Yiftah Shalev of the Antiquities Authority, this type of jewelry first appeared in Greece during the Hellenistic period and have been found across the Mediterranean basin. It is extremely rare to find this style of jewelry in Israel.

”The jewelry was found inside a building that was unearthed during the excavation, dating to the early Hellenistic period—a fascinating era about which we know very little when it comes to Jerusalem."

The archeologists dated the earring to the 3rd or early 2nd centuries BCE.

Based on the material and fine workmanship, the earrings were likely possessed by a person of high status living just 200 meters south of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The researchers could not be sure whether they were worn by a woman or a man.

"We also learned from this excavation that the residents of this area were not peasants who settled in empty areas on the periphery of the central area, but rather the opposite—they were well-off people," they said.

Also recovered nearby was a decorative gold bead featuring an intricately embroidered ornamentation resembling a thin rope pattern, which visually divides the beads into two parts with six spirals on each hemisphere.

As more artifacts are recovered from the site, the archeological team is confident that they will gain a clearer picture of how Hellenistic influences shaped life in Jerusalem during this time.

The archeological dig that yielded the golden earring is being conducted at the site of the Givati Parking Lot in the City of David National Park.

The special find will be on public display during the City of David's 17th Annual Archaeological Conference scheduled for September 8.

Credits: Photos by Clara Amit / Israel Antiquities Authority; Screen captures via Antiquities Authority Official Channel.